The FIFA World Cup 2022 enters its most exciting phase. As the football fever reaches its prime, here we look at the world’s most amazing movies on the world’s most popular game that not only entertain and enthrall but also make you a proud a football fan and a better person.
ESCAPE TO VICTORY
Let’s begin with the one that featured legendary icons of the game like Pele, Bobby Moore and more with the awesome Sylvester Stallone as the goalie in this 1981 American motivational drama about Allied prisoners of war who are interned in a German prison camp during the Second World War who play an exhibition match of football against a German team. Directed by John Huston, ESCAPE TO VICTORY or VICTORY is a cult classic. No wonder this movie inspired Aamir Khan’s LAGAAN (the core idea of playing an unknown game against all odds for a purpose)
MONTEVIDEO, TASTE OF A DREAM
Loosely based on the novel ‘Montevideo, Bog te video’ by the prominent Serbian sports journalist Vladimir Stanković – MONTEVIDEO, GOD BLESS YOU this Serbian hidden gem by Dragan Bjelogrlić is the best to begin with. Internationally titled MONTEVIDEO, TASTE OF A DREAM this 2010 brilliant movie captures the events leading to the participation of the Yugoslavia national football team at the first FIFA World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay in July 1930. Awarded the 'Audience Choice Award' for Best Film in the main competition program at the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival, the movie was also Serbia's official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.
THE DAMNED UNITED
A clear cut above the routine sports flick, this 2009 British biographical sports drama film directed by Tom Hooper and adapted by Peter Morgan from David Peace's bestselling novel ‘The Damned Utd’ - a largely fictional account of Brian Clough's ill-fated tenure as football manager of Leeds United in 1974. The movie was remarkable in its ability to show minimum of actual ball – kicking on screen. It hooked the viewer with archival footage and its thoughtful and entertaining study on the hazards of pride and ambition that has more to do with humans and less with soccer. Michael Sheen as Brian Clough was a class apart.
A deadly mix of martial arts and football with a super hero kick, Stephen Chow – The Hong Kong king of comedy (KUNG FU HUSTLE, THE MERMAID), this goofy knockout punch is that rare idiotic and guilty pleasure that keeps a constant smile on your face as anything can happen. Those who have seen Stephen Chow’s KUNG FU HUSTLE will agree. Sports flick based on football which traditionally motivates and uplifts can be crazy fun as well.
Life Doesn't End Here' this line by Andrés Escobar is now immortal for the soccer fans in Columbia. This bar raiser in sports documentary by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist that aired on ESPN, it traces the journey of The Two Escobars. Andres – the captain of the Colombian soccer team who was allegedly murdered as an act of retaliation for accidently kicking the ball into his own net and Pablo – an infamous, all-powerful drug lord, owns the team and uses the game for his money laundering which came to know as “narco-soccer.” Sports, nexus, fans ecstasy all is captured in this cult docu - drama based on real life incident in Columbian football during the 1994 World Cup.
ONCE IN A LIFETIME: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE NEW YORK COSMOS
A heartfelt documentary about ‘The New York Cosmos’, one of the most famous soccer clubs in the history of the United States. The movie combines the narration of veteran actor Matt Dillon with interviews with many of the team's legendary star players and footage of the team in the North American Soccer League in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Directed by Paul Crowder and John Dower, the movie fascinately traces the rise and fall of the Cosmos and U.S. soccer.
This path breaking cult by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, explored gender politics with comedy, intelligence, and a variety of interesting characters in this tale of six Iranian girls who disguise themselves as boys in order to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch the 2006 World Cup Asian zone qualifier between Iran and Bahrain. However, they get caught and are arrested one by one. This movie was reportedly banned in Iran.
PELE : THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND
Yes it was a hagiography on the one and only Pele, the name that inspired Brazil and the world to play football. The biopic was slammed by critics but for the fans, lovers of football and all of us who like motivating stories, the journey of a kid from the slums of São Paulo, Brazil, who couldn’t afford proper football and practiced with mangoes to become a legend of the game and gave anew life to that style called ‘Zinga’
THE CLASS OF 92
Directed byBen Turner, Gabe Turner and Benjamin Turner, THE CLASS OF 92, explains the rise to prominence and global sporting superstardom of six supremely talented young Manchester United soccer players - David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil and Gary Neville). A must for the supports of Manchester United and the lovers of football
This universally inspiring docu drama showcases how two football players Boughen and Oxenham travel to twenty-five different countries and play pick-up games wherever they find them, from prison yards to construction sites, from alleys to playgrounds, from a moonshiner's camp in Kenya to a game in Iran
DARE TO DREAM: THE STORY OF U.S. WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM
This rare sports documentary about the United States women's national soccer team, highlighting the significant roles played by Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, and Joy Fawcett in the development of the team from 1980’s to 2004.
NEXT GOAL WINS
This extremely motivating gem on how one of the world’s worst soccer team qualifies to play the FIFA 2014 WORLD CUP held last time in 2014. This Mike Brett and Steve Jamison helmed documentary film is just perfect to underline the spirit of sportsmanship and it as great motivator and an awesome comeback story – that’s what sport and this greatest game on earth Football is all about. Hoping that the famous appeal of Sunil Chhetri results in India playing the next FIFA World Cup.. till then enjoy these awesome movies on Football.
The 2019 British documentary directed by Asif Kapadia about the Argentinean god of football - Diego Maradona has rare archival footage.
Centered around Diego Maradona incredible journey is a football player with a magic of his own.
FINDING JACK CHARLTON
An astonishing masterpiece on the managing career of Charlton. Jack Charlton took over the leadership of the Republic of Ireland national football team in 1986 and became one of the most beloved people in the country.
Directed by Gabriel Clarke and Pete Thomas, Finding Jack Charlton also has interviews of oter famous Irish football players and cultural icons like Larry Mullen Jr., Roddy Doyle, and Paul McGrath
Bigil meaning Whistle the 2019 Indian Tamil-language sports action film written and directed by Atlee stars Vijay in the lead.
Bigil collected a whooping 285–300 crore and is hailed as Vijay's highest-grossing film in his career. The SIIMA, Zee Cine Awards Tamil, Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award winner sees Vijay playing a footballer-turned-gangster who decides to coach a women's football team when their coach gets attacked.
The movie also stars Nayanthara, Jackie Shroff, Vivek and Kathir.